Mariners enjoying WC chase: 'It sure is fun'

September 12th, 2021

SEATTLE -- Few people outside the organization expected the Mariners to be in the postseason chase when the 2021 season started. Now that they are in the thick of the American League Wild Card race in mid-September, the team doesn't appear to be feeling any pressure.

Entering Saturday, the Yankees held the second AL Wild Card spot with a half-game lead over the Blue Jays and a one-game advantage over both the Mariners and A's.

“No one expected us to even be in this spot, regardless. We’ve got nothing to lose,” Seattle shortstop J.P. Crawford said. “We’ve just got to keep riding the wave we’re on right now and see what happens.”

The Mariners have been surging of late, as they had won seven of their previous nine games entering Saturday and had gone 18-9 since Aug. 11.

“Obviously, all these games are important, they’re fun, it’s kind of what baseball should be like in September, and I’m really glad we’re in this spot,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.

This is a team that has been responding to pressure situations all year, with a Major League-leading 30 wins in one-run games. Servais believes the added stakes of this September can only help his players.

“Along the way, you’re gaining these experiences, you’re getting the big at-bats late in games with runners in scoring position," Servais said. "Sometimes, you’re better at slowing it down -- slowing your heartbeat down and working through an at-bat -- than other times. But I do know from experience the more opportunities you get to go through that, the better you get at handling it."

The Mariners are still in the postseason mix despite having the only negative run differential among the top four teams in the race for the second AL Wild Card. When asked about the run differential at the end of August, Servais countered by saying the team had a positive “fun differential,” and that feel-good play is still powering Seattle as it aims to end a 20-year postseason drought.

“I’ve never been in this type of spot before,” Crawford said. “It sure is fun.”